Revolutionizing Student Teaching

Nov 15, 2010, 05:00 ET from Millersville University

Millersville University Develops Nationally Unique Program

MILLERSVILLE, Pa., Nov. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- High schools will have better prepared, experienced and ready-to-teach new science teachers thanks to a revolutionary student teaching program developed at Millersville University of Pennsylvania.



"We're fundamentally changing how we prepare high school teachers," explained Dr. Oliver Dreon, educational foundations professor at Millersville.  "The Science Professional Development School (PDS) connects exemplary secondary science teachers, Millersville pre-service science teachers and our Millersville University faculty in a full year partnership."

The only program of its kind in the nation, the PDS at Millersville could be compared to a teaching hospital – where a sound academic program and intense clinical preparation come together.  Like a teaching hospital, the PDS provides support for professional learning in a real-world setting in which practice takes place.

"The goal is to improve teaching and learning for grades 7-12," explained Dr. Nanette Dietrich, educational foundations.  "You could describe it as an apprenticeship or co-teaching model, where we place students in the school and they really become integrated into the classroom and the entire school.  The program creates and fosters a supportive community for everyone involved."

Dreon and Dietrich began designing the program four years ago when Dr. Jane Bray, dean of the School of Education asked for interested faculty to get a PDS off the ground. They were supported in the program's development by Dr. Dominic Scott, educational foundations.

The school districts participating include Manheim Township, Conestoga Valley, Lampeter-Strasburg, Manheim Central, Elanco and the School District of Lancaster. There are 31 Millersville students in those school districts and they are in the midst of the first full year of the program.  There was a pilot program last year with five students.  While the program currently is limited to science teachers, Dreon and Dietrich hope to expand it to other content areas.

"The Pennsylvania Department of Education has instituted new guidelines calling for 150 hours of field experience," said Dietrich.  "Those regulations have not gone into effect yet, however, we wanted to be proactive and developed the PDS."

"It used to be that student teachers were just learning the students in their classrooms and finding their way around the school - and then it was time to leave," said Dreon. "Student teaching in the past had a very temporary feeling.  This program really allows integration to occur and creates a dynamic atmosphere of shared learning that is beneficial to our students, the secondary students and participating districts."

SOURCE Millersville University